Last night when I was up with Bridget, I thought to myself…I love this. I absolutely love just holding her and laying on the couch until she calms down and falls back asleep. I love that she can sense when I lay her back into her bed. I love that she is so small and petite (okay short) that carrying her isn’t a problem.
I know I should not enable her. I know I should just let her cry it out. And most times I do. But last night I just didn’t want to. And of course I feel some guilt. I hate when Abby wakes up in the middle of the night and wants to sleep in our bed. It’s not that I dislike Abby, but the fact that sleeping with Abby is like sleeping with a boxer. She is all knees and elbows.
Bridget though, Bridget hugs you with her entire body. She wants to nestle her head right under your neck. She knows the difference between my standing with her and sitting. Without a word she knows how to tell me what she needs to be comforted.
For almost the first 2 years of Bridget’s life I would put her to bed and she would fall asleep. Then anytime between midnight and 4 am, when I was in the deepest sleep possible, she would awaken. Screaming. All I could do to comfort her was to lay on the couch in a way to make sure she was safe and we would doze. It got to be that I just left the pillows and comforters behind the couch so they would be in easy reach in the morning.
Then shortly after she turned 2 and a half, one night I got tough. She was going to comfort herself back to sleep. It was a month of torture. The “experts” totally lie when they say a child will cry themselves to sleep after 10 minutes. But the month was worth it. Gradually Breidget began to sleep through the night, most of the time. And now when she wakes up she will coo herself (and sometimes cry) back to sleep. I have learned her signals. If she fusses for more than 5 minutes there is no way she is falling back to sleep. She will stress herself so that her reflux acts up. Then she is in pain, something I will not withhold comfort from.
But those nights are becoming fewer and fewer. Thank goodness, Boo is sleeping better. Although I still wake up in the night sure that I have heard something. And on the nights now when I know she cannot comfort herself, I rush into the room and will forgo any thoughts of sleep.
I may never know why Boo wakes up screaming in the night. Sure I can guess. It might be bowel issues, she might be in pain, she might be scared. But sometimes, like last night, I think she just needs her mom’s arms around her.
And I am more than okay with that.